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Articles filed in: Entrepreneurship

10 Reasons People Buy Your Product Or Share Your Idea

People buy your product or share your idea because…..

1. It makes them feel…better, smarter, more beautiful, healthier, safe, loved and on and on.
Online courses, Jimmy Choo shoes, perfume, gym membership, life insurance, organic fruit.

2. They are looking for a shortcut. Information, more time, easy payments or something else.
Paypal, lawn mowing, TripAdvisor.

3. They want to feel more connected to the group, to belong.
Instagram, live events, Startup weekend, book clubs.

4. It works.
Think Dropbox, WordPress, Amazon, FedEx.

5. It makes their life easier.
Fruit smoothies, online groceries, Thermomix.

6. It gives them a story to tell.
A Tiffany & Co bracelet, dinner at Jamie’s Italian restaurant, Christian Louboutin red soled shoes.

7. They need a solution to a problem.
Online dating, personal training, gluten free bread.

8. It helps them to get from where they are to where they want.
Gym membership, consulting services, design.

9. They like what you stand for.
Wholefoods stores, Method clean products, Patagonia outdoor wear.

10. Their friends are doing it too.
Facebook, dinner at a new restaurant, drinking Jägerbombs.

How many of these boxes are you ticking for your customers?

Image by Zurich Tourismus.

Your Biggest Obstacle

“Here’s what I’ve got.” Joe said, as he held out his product to me. It wasn’t just a product though. This was something that had consumed him and five figures of his hard earned cash for months.
The market research he’d taken as a green light to get going a year earlier hadn’t paid off.

Joe had inventory and no buyers. His potential customers had evaporated and by now he was desperate to convince them. Knowing that people didn’t want what he was selling didn’t make it any easier for Joe to regroup.

It was easier for him to contemplate shifting the worldview of an entire market than to change his own.

The truth is it’s not always the market that needs to shift it’s thinking. Sometimes it’s you.

Your biggest obstacle might be closer to home than you think.

Image by Oliver Frank.

Credentials And The Fraud Police

If I had a dollar for every person I know who is making a difference doing something they care about yet feels insecure about their right to be doing it, I would be funding a very nice round the world trip.

There’s the interior decorator who longed to be a stylist but doubted that she could pull it off. She was doing the work anyway without realising or charging for it when she consulted her clients about colours paint effects. That’s all changed now and she has even launched her own lifestyle magazine.

Then there’s the tech guy turned baker who began his business with an obsession and an email list of friends who waited with bated breath for his loaves once a week. He taught himself everything he knows. In the end he left his job and opened a bakery where he pours a whole lot of love into his recipes and the service he gives his customers.

I could tell you stories about successful authors who published because they could, not because they were anointed with a book deal. About the film editors without diplomas, the consultants with no MBA and the movement makers without permission.

Every one of us will question our right to be doing that thing that matters. Second guessing ourselves is part of the human condition. I love how Neil Gaiman described this phenomenon in his commencement address using his wife Amanda’s expression “the fraud police”. We’re going to worry about not being good enough, or being found out, or not having the piece of paper and the proof.

Here’s the only thing you need to remember. Legacies are not built on credentials.
Your work is your proof. The difference you make in peoples’ lives is your proof. The smiles on faces and the brighter start to someones day. They are your proof.

That’s all the proof you need.

Image by Remon.

Tina Roth Eisenberg On Trusting Your Gut And Following Your Passion

Have you ever had an idea you thought might work that still hasn’t seen the light of day?
If you’ve longed to bring something you’re passionate about to life it might be time to watch the video chat I had with Tina Roth Eisenberg.

Tina is a Swiss designer based in New York who runs the hugely popular design blog Swiss Miss. She also happens to be the founder of Tattly, the best temporary tattoo company in the world and the gorgeous to-do app TeuxDeux. Tina is the brains behind Creative Mornings, which has been labelled “TED for the rest of us”. It’s become a movement with chapters running events in cities all over the world.

This lady knows how to take an idea, run with it, make it work and bring people along for the ride. Enjoy the nuggets she has to share.

Image by Bekka Palmer.

The Third Secret Of Great Marketing

It’s the reason Dropbox’s revenue hit $240 million in 2011 despite giving away their product for free and how Instagram has grown to 100 million users.

Stand in your customers’ shoes. Start with their story.

Image by Trey Ratcliff.

The Most Important Question You’re Forgetting To Ask

From the outside looking in The Lego Group had a hugely successful business a decade ago. It was a beloved brand that seemed to be surviving the digital age. The balance sheet told a different story though and Lego had more years in the red than in the black between 1998 and 2004.

Part of their problem was doing too much. Lego had over diversified by moving into theme parks and clothing. And the once primary coloured bricks now came in a palette of 100 colors.

In 2005 Lego sold the Legoland theme parks and halved the number of colours of bricks they were making. They began asking their designers to innovate with constraints, but to leverage those to become even more creative. Lego returned to profitability that same year.

One of the first questions the new CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp asked was,

“What should we stop doing?”

The thing you take away leaves room for the things that really matter.

So, what should you stop doing?

Image by psychopyko.

Tell The Story You Want To Tell

You are not the first person (or the last) to admit that you’ve ended up doing the wrong thing.
For the wrong people.
For the wrong reasons.
Something that didn’t bring you the joy you thought it would.

If you’ve ever wound up at the end of a path that you have chosen and wondered how the heck you got there… try this.

Start telling the story you want to tell, not the story you think you have to tell.

Image by dolahn.

If You Build It Will They Come?

I spent most of yesterday at Startup Weekend and was excited to hear the feedback from the judges during the final pitches. There were elegant apps and well developed presentations. Some teams had a product ready to roll out this week and others had nothing more than a well validated idea about what was possible.

The team that won didn’t design the elegant app, they hadn’t even developed the product. They had spent their time proving that if they built it people would come. They tested the idea by asking people for money to solve their problem. And their proof— someone actually parted with cash on the spot for a product that didn’t exist (they did give it back).

My friend Mark did this with an email list of twenty friends and neighbours when he started out baking bread as a hobby one day a week.

You don’t have to guess what the market wants or build the product from start to done. You just have to prove that a handful of people will pay for it first.

The better question to ask might be.

If you show them will they pay you?

Image by curiouslypersistent.

Why Is Giving Easier Than Taking?

From my first day at school (the day after I turned four,I don’t think my mother could wait a minute longer), we were taught that giving was a great thing. It was a convent school and every day Sister Collette would come around with a box and collect our pennies for babies in Africa. They taught us to share, to wait in line, to put our fingers on our lips so we could listen, to take turns but never to take. And almost never to ask. More than once I watched a barely toilet trained four year old make a puddle on the floor for the want of asking.

I loved bringing in lilacs from the garden at home for May alters and twigs for nature tables. Christmas gifts for secret Santas and homemade cakes on birthdays. I got a great education in taking and a lousy one in receiving, the legacy of which lives on to this day (ask my poor darling husband who despairs about buying me gifts). Maybe the same is true for you too? That’s why I’m sharing Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk video with you again.

In an increasingly freelance world where there is no direct trade of a paycheck for hours clocked in we’ve got to get better at asking. I don’t mean selfishly spamming that high profile person in your industry and asking for a leg up. The key to the ‘art of asking’ as Amanda said (and so many people missed) is the art of building trust first. Being generous. Giving in order to receive.

My book ‘Make Your Idea Matter’ has been nominated in the Small Business Book Awards alongside great books in the startup category. If you read it and got something from it I hope you’ll consider voting for it in one click.

Thanks for making it easier to ask.

UPDATE: Thanks to those who have emailed to say the link is not working in the blog post email.I’ve tripled checked it and it’s been working here all along so i have no idea why that is. I appreciate you tracking the right page down and voting anyway.

Image by Judd Hall.

One Trick Pony

In the 1800’s small travelling circuses without big headline acts or a menagerie of exotic animals were known as dog and pony shows. The very average acts on the programme were derided as ‘one trick ponies’.

When I was growing up conventional wisdom said that you must strive never to be a ‘one trick pony’. That person who had a single talent, one area of expertise, no other way to stand out.

And yet what was once seen as a disadvantage would today be seen as mastery. You can’t help noticing that the unconventional and unwise, who have just one way of standing out and succeeding, inevitably do.

Image by badjonni.